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may see I am not accuser and judge my-
ve, a very short or a very long action
lly extended and diversified by the invenon of episodes, and the machinery of gods, ith the like poetical ornaments, that they ake up an agreeable story, sufficient to mploy the without overcharging memory Milton's action is enriched with such a ariety of circumstances, that I have taken much pleasure in reading the contents This books, as in the best invented story I ver met with. It is possible, that the trations, on which the Iliad and the Æneid ere built, had more circumstances in them han the history of the fall of man, as it is elated in scripture. Besides, it was easier or Homer and Virgil to dash the truth ith fiction, as they were in no danger of fending the religion of their country by it. ut as for Milton, he had not only a very w circumstances upon which to raise his oem, but was also obliged to proceed with e greatest caution in every thing that he dded out of his own invention. And ineed, notwithstanding all the restraint he was under, he has filled his story with so any surprising incidents, which bear so lose an analogy with what is delivered in oly writ, that it is capable of pleasing the host delicate reader, without giving offence the most scrupulous.
'MR. SPECTATOR,-Your discourse of the 29th of December,* on love and marriage, is of so useful a kind that I cannot forbear adding my thoughts to yours on that subject. Methinks it is a misfortune, that the marriage state, which in its own nature is adapted to give us the completest The modern critics have collected from happiness this life is capable of, should be everal hints in the Iliad and neid the so uncomfortable a one to so many as it pace of time which is taken up by the ac- daily proves. But the mischief generally on of each of those poems; but as a great proceeds from the unwise choice people art of Milton's story was translated in re- make for themselves, and an expectation ions that lie out of the reach of the sun and of happiness from things not capable of he sphere of day, it is impossible to gratify giving it. Nothing but the good qualities e reader with such a calculation, which of the person beloved can be a foundation deed would be more curious than instruc- for a love of judgment and discretion; and ve; none of the critics, either ancient or whoever expects happiness from any thing modern, having laid down rules to circum- but virtue, wisdom, good humour, and a cribe the action of an epic poem with any similitude of manners, will find themselves etermined number of years, days, or hours. widely mistaken. But how few are there This piece of criticism on Milton's Para- who seek after these things, and do not ise Lost shall be carried on in the following rather make riches their chief, if not their aturdays' papers. only aim? How rare is it for a man, when he engages himself in the thoughts of marriage, to place his hopes of having in such a woman a constant agreeable companion? One who will divide his cares, and double his joys? Who will manage that share of his estate he intrusts to her conduct with prudence and frugality, govern his house, with economy and discretion, and be an ornament to himself and family? Where shall we find the man who looks out for one who places her chief happiness in the practice of virtue, and makes her duty her continual pleasure? No: men rather seek for money as the complement of all their desires; and
o. 268.] Monday, January 7, 1711-12.
-Minus aptus acutis Naribus horum hominum
Hor. Sat. iii. Lib. 1. 29. -unfit
For lively sallies of corporeal wit.-Creech. It is not that I think I have been more itty than I ought of late, that at present holly forbear any attempt towards it: I of opinion that I ought sometimes to y before the world the plain letters of my rrespondents in the artless dress in which ey hastily send them, that the reader
regardless of what kind of wives they take, | parson has lost his cloak," is not mightily they think riches will be a minister to all in vogue amongst the fine ladies this Christ kind of pleasures, and enable them to keep mas, because I see they wear hoods of all mistresses, horses, hounds; to drink, feast, colours, which I suppose is for that pur and game with their companions, pay their pose. If it is, and you think it proper, debts contracted by former extravagances, will carry some of those hoods with me to or some such vile and unworthy end; and our ladies in Yorkshire: because they en indulge themselves in pleasures which are joined me to bring them something from a shame and scandal to human nature. London that was very new. If you can tell Now as for women, how few of them are any thing in which I can obey their com there who place the happiness of their mands more agreeably, be pleased to inmarriage in the having a wise and virtuous form me, and you will extremely oblige friend? One who will be faithful and just your humble servant.' to all, and constant and loving to them? Who with care and diligence will look after 'Oxford, Dec. 29. and improve the estate, and without grudg'MR. SPECTATOR,-Since you appear ing allow whatever is prudent and con- inclined to be a friend to the distressed, venient? Rather, how few are there who beg you would assist me in an affair under do not place their happiness in outshining which I have suffered very much. The others in pomp and show? and that do not reigning toast of this place is Patetia; think within themselves when they have have pursued her with the utmost diligence married such a rich person, that none of this twelvemonth, and find nothing stands their acquaintance shall appear so fine in in my way but one who flatters her more their equipage, so adorned in their persons, than I can. Pride is her favourite passion or so magnificent in their furniture as them-therefore if you would be so far my friend selves? Thus their heads are filled with vain ideas; and I heartily wish I could say that equipage and show were not the chief good of so many women as I fear it is.
'After this manner do both sexes deceive themselves, and bring reflections and disgrace upon the most happy and most honourable state of life; whereas, if they would but correct their depraved taste, moderate their ambition, and place their happiness upon proper objects, we should not find felicity in the marriage state such a wonder in the world as it now is.
Sir, if you think these thoughts worth inserting among your own, be pleased to give them a better dress; and let them pass abroad, and you will oblige your admirer,
as to make a favourable mention of me in
tress's toilet this morning, for I am admitted
Evo rarissima nostro
Ovid. Ars Am. Lib. 1. 41
'MR. SPECTATOR,-As I was this day walking in the street, there happened to pass by on the other side of the way a beauty, whose charms were so attracting, that it drew my eyes wholly on that side, insomuch, that I neglected my own way, and chanced to run my nose directly against No. 269.] Tuesday, January 8, 1711-12 a post; which the lady no sooner perceived, but she fell into a fit of laughter, though at the same time she was sensible that she herself was the cause of my misfortune, which in my opinion was the greater aggravation of her crime. I being busy wip-knocking at the door, when my landlady ing off the blood which trickled down my face, had not time to acquaint her with her barbarity, as also with my resolution, viz. never to look out of my way for one of her sex more: therefore, that vant may be revenged, he desires you to insert this in one of your next papers, which he hopes will be a warning to all the rest of the women-gazers, as well as to poor
your humble ser
MR. SPECTATOR,-I desire to know in your next, if the merry game of "The
I was this morning surprised with a grea
daughter came up to me and told me tha there was a man below desired to spea with me. Upon my asking her who it was she told me it was a very grave elderly person, but that she did not know his name immediately went down to him, and found him to be the coachman of my worthy friend Sir Roger de Coverley. He told me tha his master came to town last night, an would be glad to take a turn with me i Gray's Inn walks. As I was wondering with myself what had brought Sir Roge
town, not having lately received any ter from him, he told me that his master as come up to get a sight of Prince Eune, and that he desired I would immeately meet him.
I was not a little pleased with the curiosity
I was no sooner come into Gray's Inn
Our salutations were very hearty on both
laudable custom of his ancestors, always
I was very much delighted with the re-
After having despatched all our country He then proceeded to acquaint me with matters, Sir Roger made several inquiries he welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which concerning the club, and particularly of his e put his hand into his fob and presented old antagonist Sir Andrew Freeport. He e in his name with a tobacco-stopper, asked me with a kind smile, whether Sir elling me that Will had been busy all the Andrew had not taken the advantage of his eginning of the winter in turning great absence, to vent among them some of his uantities of them; and that he made a pre-republican doctrines; but soon after, gatherent of one to every gentleman in the coun- ing up his countenance into a more than who has good principles, and smokes. ordinary seriousness, Tell me truly,' says le added, that poor Will was at present un-he, do you not think Sir Andrew had a er great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy hand in the Pope's procession?'-But withad taken the law of him for cutting some out giving me time to answer him, 'Well, azel sticks out of one of his hedges. well,' says he, 'I know you are a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters.'
Among other pieces of news which the
George Castriot, a celebrated Albanian chief in the teenth century: he was called Scanderbeg by the urks, with whom he long continued at war.
The knight then asked me, if I had seen
dwelt very long on the praises of this great
†The act against occasional conformity,
always lie in his Hall window, which very much redound to the honour of this prince. Having passed away the greatest part of the morning in hearing the knight's reflections, which were partly private and partly political, he asked me if I would smoke a pipe with him over a dish of coffee at Squires's? As I love the old man, I take delight in complying with every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffee-house, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax-candle, and the Supplement,* with such an air of cheerfulness and good-humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea, until the knight had got all his conL.
veniences about him.
play. Such beautiful prospects gladden our minds, and when considered in general, give innocent and pleasing ideas. He that dwells upon any one object of beauty may fix his imagination to his disquiet; but the contemplation of a whole assembly together is a defence against the incroachment of desire. At least to me, who have taken pains to look at beauty abstracted from the consideration of its being the object of desire; at power, only as it sits upon another, without any hopes of partaking any share of it; at wisdom and capacity, without any pretensions to rival or envy its acquisitions. I say to me, who am really free from forming any hopes by beholding the persons of beautiful women, or warming myself into ambition from the successes of other men, this world is not only a mere scene, but a very pleasant one. Did mankind but know the freedom which there is in keeping thus aloof from the world, I should have more imitators, than the powerfullest man in the nation has followers. To be no man's rival in love, or competitor in business, is a character which, if it does not recommend you as it ought to benevolence among those
No. 270.] Wednesday, January 9, 1711-12. whom you live with, yet has it certainly
Discit enim citius, meminitque libentius illud,
There is a lust in man no power can tame,
I Do not know that I have been in greater delight for these many years, than in beholding the boxes at the play the last time the Scornful Lady† was acted. So great an assembly of ladies placed in gradual rows in all the ornaments of jewels, silks, and colours, gave so lively and gay an impression to the heart, that methought the season of the year was vanished, and I did not think it an ill expression of a young fellow who stood near me, that called the boxes those beds of tulips.' It was a pretty variation of the prospect, when any one of those fine ladies rose up and did honour to herself and friend at a distance, by courtesying, and gave opportunity to that friend to show her charms to the same advantage in returning the salutation. Here that action is as proper and graceful as it is at church unbecoming and impertinent. By the way I must take the liberty to observe, that I did not see any one who is usually so full of civilities at church, offer any such indecorum during any part of the action of the
this effect, that you do not stand so much in need of their approbation, as you would
you aimed at it more, in setting your heart on the same things which the generality doat on. By this means, and with this easy philosophy, I am never less at a play than when I am at the theatre; but indeed I am seldom so well pleased with action as in that place; for most men follow nature no longer than while they are in their nightgowns, and all the busy part of the day are in characters which they neither become, their beholders. But to return to my ladies: nor act in with pleasure to themselves or was very well pleased to see so great a crowd of them assembled at a play, wherein the heroine, as the phrase is, is so just a picture of the vanity of the sex in torment ing their admirers. The lady who pines for
the man whom she treats with so much immuch art and humour. Her resolutions to pertinence and inconstancy, is drawn with just at the instant she resolved to express be extremely civil, but her vanity arising herself kindly, are described as by one who had studied the sex. But when my admira tion is fixed upon this excellent character, and two or three others in the play, I must confess I was moved, with the utmost indignation, at the trivial, senseless, and unis possible there may be a pedant in holy natural representation of the chaplain. It orders, and we have seen one or two d them in the world: but such a driveller as Sir Roger, so bereft of all manner of pride, what one would not believe could come into which is the characteristic of a pedant,
The title of Sir was anciently given to every domes tic chaplain. It is surprising to observe how much ha been written on this subject by some of the comments. tors on Shakspeare. See the Merry Wives of Windsor.
Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores.
Virg. Æn. iv. 701.
eggs. I RECEIVE a double advantage from the
e head of the same man who drew the | No. 271.] Thursday, January 10, 1711-12.
skilful management of the subscribing part
Some will have it, that I often write to my-